Ryan Getz’s top 20 records of 2017!
I don’t have any deep commentary to offer about this year. I hope you take a look at the names below and give something new a try. All the best! -RG
LANY – LANY
Phoenix – Ti Amo
The Lulls in Traffic – Rabbit In the Snare
Mt. Wolf – Aetherlight
Sir Sly – Don’t You Worry, Honey
Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins
YOUTH – Blame
nothing,nowhere – Reaper
Alvvays – Antisocialites
Slow Magic – Float
Washed Out – Mister Mellow
WV White – House of the Spiritual Athletes
20. Ghost Key – If I Don’t Make It: I’m not as much of a hardcore head as many of my friends, but there are a few bands that I simply cannot skip when they come up in shuffle. One of those is Ghost Key. Their release If I Don’t Make It is hard hitting, honest, and catchy as all get out.
19. Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?: Bass and drums and lots of amps make for a killer combination. Royal Blood figured this out a long time ago and they’ve spent the past few years enlightening the world to their knowledge of this. This album is proof that you can’t create some killer rock anthems with very little to work with. The hooks are aplenty, and so is the headbanging that comes with.
18. AllttA – The Upper Hand: When I was a senior in high school I became aware of a certain Mr. J. Medeiros, who was formerly of the hip hop collective The Procussions. This project is his collaboration with producer 20syl. If you’re looking to dance but also think a little bit, here’s your album. You’ll also enjoy this album if you’re into contemplative driving music.
17. White Reaper – The World’s Best American Band: White Reaper are the masters of straightforward rock with a punk personality. Every WR show I’ve attended has had a mosh pit and nonchalant moshing from at least one member of the band. The hyperbolically titled most recent record from the band only further cements the band’s reputation. Have some fun with this one.
16. St. Vincent – Masseduction: Smart electronic pop music from the queen herself. I actually have no idea if people call Annie Clark’s persona that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that were true. This album is a smidgen more accessible than her eponymous LP, but that’s alright. It will make her live show that much more of a sensory overload when I see it.
15. Spoon – Hot Thoughts: I’m slightly ashamed to say that I didn’t spend a whole time with this prolific Austin band until the release of their ninth record, Hot Thoughts. The title track was an instant standout for me, but what cemented this album as a favorite of the year was hearing some of these tracks live – notably the set opener “Do I Have To Talk You Into It.”
14. Andrew Belle – Dive Deep: With Andrew Belle, you can expect plenty of electronic experimentation backing songs that are full of heart. Black Bear set the bar high for me, and while Dive Deep doesn’t exceed the bar, it certainly meets expectations with some solid gems along the way. The record dives even deeper (pardon the pun) into that experimentation touched upon in Black Bear.
13. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me: You have to hand it to Phil Elverum, for not only being a prolific songwriter but putting out perhaps the most vulnerable album I heard all year. The fact that he wrote an album about death in the room where his late wife passed away, with her instruments, pretty much says it all. Listening to this music is peaceful and painful at the same time.
12. Sylvan Esso – What Now: I keep getting unlucky with the timing of this duo’s appearances in Columbus. What Now is a quirky record full of electronic twists and turns, accentuated by Amelia Mouth’s trademark carefree singing. What Now is another album that largely flew under the radar, as far as big releases this year went. “Radio” and “Die Young” were standouts for yours truly.
11. *repeat repeat – Floral Canyon: Later on in this countdown, I’ll name a record that I would consider the most overlooked quality release of 2017. I would place this album second. I’m shocked to see this album nowhere on year-end recaps, considering *repeat repeat’s indie sensibility and music critic’s love affair with pop rock that’s rough around the edges. Fans of Charly Bliss and Alvvays alike would love this.
10. Gorillaz – Humanz: This album is long, but garnered some a lot of listens for me this year. The album is dystopian as much as it is a commentary on our current political climate. More than anything though, the dark grooves really stand out as being enjoyable to jam out in the car or otherwise.
9. PVRIS – All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell: Holy electronic arena anthems, Batman! This writer love love loves M83 and CHVRCHES and it’s possible PVRIS might be rising into those ranks with the release of this album. Lynn Gunn’s live vocals still leave a little to be desired from me, but the strength of the songwriting and the sheer enjoyability factor with these emotive hooks do it for me.
8. The Anchor Collective – Atlas: I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say this album might be one of the most under the radar quality records released in America this year. The group from south Florida released a high quality collection of folky rock tunes in the vein of Local Natives and The Head and the Heart, and I really hope to see these guys and gal on the road a bunch in 2018.
7. Playing to Vapors – Shred the Master Design: It’s no secret amongst longtime followers of Tuned Up that we have a slight obsession with this band. Shred the Master Design is the debut full length from the project, and it is as provocative and adventurous as it is jam worthy and catchy. That is to say, a lot.
6. Tigerwine – Die With Your Tongue Out: Tigerwine recalls some classic post-hardcore bands while creating a sludgey sound all their own. Hayden Trobee’s vocals drip with urgency at every turn.
5. The National – Sleep Well Beast: One the darlings of the indie rock world, The National, for reasons I don’t fully understand flew under the radar this year. Even my world – I didn’t pay attention right away. But it was putting Sleep Well Beast on in my car late in the year that made me go “holy moly, where have I been?” “Day I Die” alone was a departure for the band, but the dark more electronic nature of the album combined with the distinct vocals is a win for all throughout.
4. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.: Is there anything we can say that other blogs haven’t? Maybe not, but I’ll admit to being behind the curve on Kendrick. My first experience with him was a live performance in 2013 – I was less than impressed. Fast forward to now. He’s on top of the world, triumphantly proclaiming and lamenting at the same time “ain’t nobody praying for me!” There’s a reason for that, friends. The album is aggressive, and a banger, as they say.
3. Acceptance – Colliding By Design: This band put out one album that was lauded in its heyday – and now the disbanding of Anberlin allowed Christian McAlhaney to devote his full attention to writing a comeback record for this band. The album is chock-full of 80’s inspired anthems that retain the band’s pensive rock and roll vibe set in their debut record 12 years earlier. Here’s hoping the deal they signed with Rise wasn’t a one and done.
2. The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding: This is another album where the bar was set almost impossibly high by its predecessor. A Deeper Understanding lives up to it’s name, fully embracing the identity of the band established by Lost in the Dream. A Deeper Understanding isn’t better, it merely explores an existing paradigm further. But explore it does.
1. Mutemath – Play Dead: Come on, are you really surprised? I mean this is Ryan Getz we’re talking about. Play Dead wraps up all the elements of Mutemath they’ve explored over their career quite nicely. With the departure of drummer Darren King this year, it’s anyone’s guess what the future holds for the group. If this is the end of Mutemath as we know them, this is a good way to go out. Tight grooves, soaring melodies, and unexpected twists are all present here.